Headlight switch smoke - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


General Technical & Electrical General technical and electrical discussion for the Ford Ranger that does not fit in any other sub-forum.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 04-17-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
Headlight switch smoke

Hi all, a week ago smoke was coming from my dash, long story short the problem was the headlight switch so I changed it out along with all the fuses... Well since replacing all the fuses and the switch I've gone through two switches this week. The wire connector is perfectly fine it's just the switch that starts burning up. Anyone know why?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04-17-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 1,667
If it's burning up, that means there's more current flowing through the switch than what the switch is designed to handle. Resistance of switch, heat generated, all that happy fun stuff equals smoke.

I could be wrong, but I remember hearing something about a certain generation having a similar problem. I don't remember all the details, but I thought I'd throw that in there because it might put you or someone else on the same thought pattern I have.

I would take your old headlight switches and take 'em apart. Look for what parts are melting, and what pins those correspond to, and subsequently what wires they turn into.

By knowing what color wire(s) are affected, that will cue you in to what circuit is affected. If you have one, a good multi meter may be of some good help here. I have a fairly advanced autoranging multimeter off amazon for less than 40 dollars. If you want me to, I'll post the link for it.

A couple things to consider.
Does it melt when the key is on?
Does it melt only when in a certain position (IE, headlights on)

Both of those things can seriously cue you in. If it only melts when the headlights are on, there's your sign. If I remember correctly, these headlight switches are designed to take the load through the switch, while later model switches (04+ I believe) do not.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-18-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
It starts smoking the minute I turn the truck on. Would it be a circuit issue or a relay?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-18-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 1,667
Alright, switch starts melting with key on, switch assumed to be off.

Unless a relay is compromised in such a way to where it's causing a short to ground (which is possible, but unlikely) then it's likely not. You can look at them if you want, but it's unlikely.

Somewhere, somehow, power flowing after the switch is being pulled directly to ground, allowing an absolute crap ton of current to flow through the switch.

Without knowing exactly what circuit is being affected, we're pretty much throwing darts at a map while blindfolded. Unfortunately, nothing relevant is coming up on google.

Were any modifications made to the truck? Anything new wired up? Any bulbs or anything electrical replaced?

If not, there's really only one way to see what's going on. Take the melted switch apart and see which pins are affected, thus resulting in what color wires they are which will pinpoint us to exactly what circuit has the problem.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-18-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
The trucks absolutely stock. The ground seems fine and you're right Google has nothing on this. I'll end up taking the switch apart tonight and seeing if I can find what circuit is overflowing
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-18-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 1,667
A stock truck is a good truck in this case. The less modifications you have to bear in mind the better off you are.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-18-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
Would all this be a simple relay replacement under the hood or would I need to change out the wiring harness completely heck maybe both? Anyone know???
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-18-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 1,667
The wiring is likely fine. What the wires go to however is a more likely situation. You can replace relays if you want, but that'll likely end up with no more than further cost.

But like I keep saying, the only way to fix the problem is to know what circuit is affected. Only then can we properly diagnose the problem. For all we know it could be the multi-function switch stalk. Get anything from disassembling the switch?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-18-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
The switch internally looked fine but every wire in the harness coming from the dash was smoldering... They were all black/a very dark brown. I turned the truck on and sure enough they started smoking. I'm assuming I'll need to change out the harness. I'll go double check what wires in specific had it worse than others but now I'm just worried that if and when I change out the harness if the problem would persist. I'm also trying to find a way to bypass the harness so I can use my lights without setting my dash on fire
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-19-2016
TheArcticWolf1911's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Evansville, Indiana
Posts: 1,667
If the wiring is damaged then it will need to be replaced. You may want to consider bringing the truck to a mechanic at this point. Without actually fixing the problem then the wires will just continue to smolder.

If you don't want to take it to a mechanic, then you can of course run new wires and switches for the headlights, park lights, etc. Just make sure you wire them properly, otherwise you'll end up with the same situation you have right now.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-19-2016
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Santa Cruz California
Posts: 13
So I double checked, it's the red wire that's striped yellow and blue that's striped yellow that are smoldering. My mechanics soonest appointment is Sunday
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Dimmer switch, headlight switch & HVAC knobs - NJ hurley Interior, Exterior, Electrical, & Misc. 1 08-01-2014 12:57 PM
4x4 switch and headlight switch bulb? Toms994x4 Interior Semi-Tech 31 01-14-2010 11:45 PM
Mazda headlight vs. 98-00 ranger headlight silverfox General Technical & Electrical 8 09-23-2009 03:20 PM
'06 - '07 Headlight switch w/ built in fog light switch....... lifted97ranger General Technical & Electrical 60 03-22-2008 07:11 PM
smoke headlight and taillight covers LowMaz Exterior Semi-Tech 15 02-12-2007 12:47 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:39 PM.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.